Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    bn_bnntt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7

    Help me identity my Thompson! Please.

    Yea I know it's not a revolver, but it sure isn't a semi. This was my father's. I have a Thompson Center Arms Contender. 10" octagonal barrel. .45 Colt. Anybody here know much about these? I've seen afew online but nothing exactly like it.








  2. #2
    bn_bnntt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7
    And I cant seem to be able to post an image. So this probably won't work.

  3. #3
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North-Central USA
    Posts
    4,302
    Many years ago, I owned a T/C Contender with the short (10") octagon barrel. The octagon barrel guns were the earliest configuration, and although they were nice and light to carry (designed as a hunting weapon), they didn't have much weight out on the front end of the weapon, and so they kicked rather hard. The one I had was in .44 Magnum, and with the original smallish wood grips, the recoil was absolutely brutal. I actually broke two different wood grips when the gun kicked the grip downward in recoil and hit the top of the table/bench where I was shooting. Factory-loaded .45 Colt ammo won't kick nearly as hard, unless you get some of the near-magnum-level hunting ammo offered by some of the specialty ammo companies.

    Check the printing on the side of the barrel and make sure your gun is a .45 Colt only. Some .45 Colt T/Cs had a special choke tube that screwed onto the end of the barrel, and along with a special deeper-cut chamber, they could also fire .410 shotgun shells. This is what they look like:

    T/C CONTENDER OCTAGON BARREL HOTSHOT 45 COLT/410 : Single Shot at GunBroker.com

    An electronic (.PDF) copy of the instruction manual can be found here (hat tip and many thanks to Steve at Steve's Pages!):

    http://stevespages.com/page7b.htm

    Go down to the "T" section and look for the Contender manual link.

    The T/C Contenders and barrels I've shot and owned were always highly accurate, and very reliable. For slow-speed target shooting, I had a thicker bull-barrel .22 caliber barrel set up with a pistol scope, and it was absolutely SCARY accurate. Great guns!
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  4. #4
    bn_bnntt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7
    Mine has the octagonal barrel and it has the same tip/choke as the gun pictured in the first link you gave me. Same grip on the barrel too. Need to take it to a gunsmith. Considering a restoration. They are beautiful guns. What's the trick to cocking the hammer on them? They seem so simple, but I can tell there's some engineering I can't figure out. I assume I should never dry fire this thing? Will modern ammo blow it up?
    Last edited by bn_bnntt; 05-21-2011 at 12:32 PM. Reason: more questions.

  5. #5
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North-Central USA
    Posts
    4,302
    Quote Originally Posted by bn_bnntt View Post
    Mine has the octagonal barrel and it has the same tip/choke as the gun pictured in the first link you gave me. Same grip on the barrel too. Need to take it to a gunsmith. Considering a restoration. They are beautiful guns. What's the trick to cocking the hammer on them? They seem so simple, but I can tell there's some engineering I can't figure out. I assume I should never dry fire this thing? Will modern ammo blow it up?
    To cock the hammer, first you must open the action to cock the internal striker mechanism (which will release the hammer). Squeeze the lower spur on the trigger guard rearward and upward, briskly, to open the action (if the gun's action hasn't been opened in quite some time, it may be a bit stiff, requiring two fingers on the trigger guard spur to activate it; overlap both hands on the grip and put both "trigger fingers" on the spur, pulling at the same time). Once the action has been opened, closing it will allow firing or dry-firing; however, with the Contender, you don't have to cock the hammer to dry-fire. The striker, which activates the hammer when released, will make a tiny "click" when the trigger is pulled, and the exact same effort is required to pull the trigger whether the hammer is cocked or not. This is a handy feature, which reduces the battering on the hammer and firing pin(s), and removes the need for snap-caps when practice-firing an unloaded Contender. Most of this info is contained on pages 5-10 of the manual, except for the two-hand-opening trick. I again encourage you to completely read the manual. This handgun is very "different" than most other handguns.

    The Contender action is quite strong, as proven by the fact that it has been chambered in several low-pressure rifle rounds like the .30-30 Winchester, .35 Remington, and .45-70 Government (!). However, just like any other handgun, it does have a limit, and bad things will happen if that limit is exceeded. If you stick to factory-loaded ammunition by the major manufacturers, you will be fine. If you buy some of the "custom" high-powered hunting ammo, then you will be stressing the weapon (and your hand, with the additional recoil) more than the factory loads would, as the factory rounds are loaded rather lightly due to the many older, lightly-constructed (by modern standards) cowboy-style revolvers in circulation. In addition to the major ammo manufacturers, you may be able to find newer ammunition labeled as "Cowboy Action" loads; these are made for the Cowboy Action shooting sports, and should be loaded to light-to-moderate levels of recoil for this type of target-shooting competition. I would not use custom-loaded or handloaded ammo in your gun, as many of these loads in .45 Colt caliber are hot, maximum loads for hunting large game.

    You mentioned restoration in your post; is there something wrong with the weapon?

    Hope this has been helpful.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  6. #6
    bn_bnntt is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7
    When cocking the hammer, how much travel does the hammer actually have? I can do the little dry-fire click but the hammer has no obvious movement. It seems like there's 3/8" of space that the hammer could move backward (when cocking it). I still can't cock the hammer. Around the tip of the barrel is very slight rust pitting. Maybe not a complete restoration, but refinishing would be nice. There's some light wear through places in the finish.

  7. #7
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North-Central USA
    Posts
    4,302
    Quote Originally Posted by bn_bnntt View Post
    When cocking the hammer, how much travel does the hammer actually have?
    I don't have one available to me any more, but from memory, I'd say between a three-quarters-on-an-inch and one inch, measured at the top of the hammer's arc.



    I can do the little dry-fire click but the hammer has no obvious movement. It seems like there's 3/8" of space that the hammer could move backward (when cocking it). I still can't cock the hammer. Around the tip of the barrel is very slight rust pitting. Maybe not a complete restoration, but refinishing would be nice. There's some light wear through places in the finish.
    If you do the little dry-fire-click thing without cocking the hammer, it's not supposed to move, so there's no problem there. Once the action is opened and closed (IMPORTANT NOTE: snap it closed firmly, to make sure the locking system is fully engaged), and the striker is cocked, you should be able to manually pull the hammer to the rear with your thumb, and you will hear a click and it will stay cocked until the trigger is pulled. If this isn't happening, then it sounds like there is a problem with the mechanism.

    First, I'd peek into the area behind the hammer and see it there is anything jammed into the slot. Perhaps a fired primer, a twig from the last hunting trip, etc., is interfering with the hammer's full travel rearward. Hold the gun upside down and wiggle the hammer forward and back, and see if anything falls out.

    If you don't see anything, next I'd recommend squirting some light oil or spray lubricant like CLP into the area in front of, and behind, the hammer, and then see if the mechanism loosens-up in the next few days. It's possible that there is some semi-hardened gunk interfering with the movement of the hammer (or the internal hammer block), and the lube might get things moving again. Wiggle the hammer back and forth a bit, but don't force it too hard. Remember, there is a stout spring pressing the hammer forward, so it might take a bit of pulling to get it all the way back to full-cock position, but if you can't do it by pulling with two thumbs' worth of pressure, there is a problem.

    Finally, it's possible that the hammer spring or something else has broken and jammed the action. A trip to the factory or a good gunsmith who is familiar with this model will probably be required to diagnose and repair any problem(s) of this type.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

45 colt thompson octagon
,
date my contender pistol
,
tc contender manual
,
thompson center arms 45 colt
,
thompson center arms contender manual
,
thompson center contender manual
,
thompson center contender octagon barrel
,

thompson center contender owners manual

,
thompson centerarms internal firing pin contender manual
,
thompson contender 45/410 barrel instructions
,
thompson contender manual
,
thompson contender pistols hammer specs
Click on a term to search for related topics.